A newly designed drone called Hitchhiker has emerged, capable of landing on inclined surfaces, including the sides of moving cars. This breakthrough solves the challenge faced by traditional drones that generally need a flat and somewhat level surface for takeoff and landing. This advancement is crucial for industries that rely on drones for surveillance, delivery tasks, and search and rescue efforts.
Hitchhiker's remarkable capabilities stem from a trajectory planning algorithm that accounts for individual rotor thrust, which allows the drone to achieve precise landings on inclined surfaces. In experiments, the drone could land on surfaces at speeds up to 1.07 meters per second and inclinations up to 90 degrees, with a success rate of 70% or higher. Equipped with self-sealing suction cups arranged in a wheel configuration, Hitchhiker compensates for any trajectory planning errors, boosting the overall success rate.
Sensen Liu, the drone's designer, is a Postdoctoral Researcher from the Lab of Cooperative Intelligence of Unmanned Systems (Shanghai Jiao Tong University). According to Sensen Liu, "By creating drones with this capability, we can leverage inclined surfaces as landing sites and expand the possibilities for the use of drone technology."
The groundbreaking capabilities of Hitchhiker have the potential to revolutionize industries and usher in a new era of drone applications. From enhancing surveillance and data collection to enabling autonomous transportation, this innovative drone opens up possibilities that can transform various sectors, shaping a more advanced and efficient future.